Meet the brewer: Scott Adams, Funk Brewing Co.
Discover Scott's journey to Funk Brewing
Funk Brewing Co.
Saturday 02 July 2022
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When Funk Brewing’s head brewer Scott Adams finally turned 21, he hated beer. All the beers he’d previously snuck out of his parents’ fridge – Coors Light, Yuengling lager – were, even to his under-age palate, insipid and toothless. Fortunately, a friend of his worked at Shangy’s The Beer Authority, a legendary, multi-award winning bar, lounge and craft beer wholesaler in their hometown of Emmaus. He tried IPAs, Imperial stouts, barleywines… but nothing quite lit young Scott’s fire until he was persuaded by the same friend to invest in a pack of La Trappe Dubbel.
“We went for a hike that night in the middle of a snow storm and put a few bottles in the snow on the way up the mountain,” he recalls. “On our way down, we sat down and each cracked a bottle. I was hooked at that first sip. It’s like when you have a very vivid image in your mind about what an unknown place or person will look like and upon seeing it for the first time it doesn’t look anything like you imagined it would. This was the opposite. This is what I always thought beer would taste like.”
Heady stuff. It would prove not only a formative moment for Scott as a beer lover, but also as a brewer, as it was immediately after this revelation that he began home brewing.
“The first beer I brewed was very poor Imperial Stout I made in my parents’ kitchen with an extract kit,” he says. “It was terrible. I picked a bunch of wild raspberries and crushed them up and threw them in to see if that would save it. It did not. I definitely learned that I needed to learn a lot more and be willing to make more bad beer before I got results I was happy with.”
Undeterred, he honed his skills for several years, during which he also earned his stripes working for bars known for their beer selection, eventually becoming a buyer and curator.
“I sampled every style of beer you could imagine and continued to home-brew regularly,” he says. “I made some great friendships with brewers over the years, and really ran with the idea of being a beer professional.”
Scott joined Funk in 2014, originally as a part-time bartender, then grabbed the opportunity of a part-time brewing position. By three months, he was full-time, and a year and half after that was head brewer. And you can see why; Scott is a real ‘brewer’s brewer’, who prefers to show his creativity through technical skill rather than through gimmicks.
“There’s room for interpretation in any style, and in my opinion the creativity is more behind the scenes than most people realise,” he says. “Processes and problem solving are where I think really great and innovative brewers thrive as opposed to throwing gummy bears in the mash. Sure, that kind of thing can be fun and creative, but does wearing a silly hat make you unique, or are you just wearing a silly hat?
“To be honest though, there are just so many breweries in Pennsylvania that you kind of get anything you want out of it, both from the production side or as a drinker. Pennsylvania, and especially the Philadelphia area, have always been great places to find good beer. I think the past few years have seen a shift away from traditional bars to more family friendly venues serving food, but the beer is still there, it’s still great, and it’s now reaching a wider audience than ever. That can only be a good thing, right?”
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